B. A. BARACUS (1983)
Black History Month continues with another African American toy review. Thus far we’ve taken a look at Netossa from Masters of the Universe, Rip Cord from G.I. Joe, Thunderball from the Marvel Universe, and “The Natural” Butch Reed from WCW/WWF. Well I’ve got a great one for you today, the pop culture icon known as Mr. T.
Technically this figure is of B.A. (Bad Attitude) Baracus, a character Mr. T played on the A-Team, but the character and the man are so intertwined in my brain that I don’t really see any distinction between the two. Mr. T was one of my first black role models along with Lando Calrissian from Star Wars (Gordon from Sesame Street may have edged them out by a year or two). I’m actually not sure if I was first exposed to Mr. T on the A-Team which ran from 1983 to 1987 or from his role as Clubber Lang in Rocky III which came out in 1982. Most likely the A-Team as it was more kid-friendly but I know I saw Rocky III when I was quite young; it was the first film of the series that I saw and I’ve been a devoted fan ever since. Mr. T was awesome in both roles. It was cool seeing him play both a hero and a villain. I don’t know if I’d go so far as to say it showed he had range but you don’t see many actors playing such opposite ends of the spectrum very often.
The role of Clubber gave us the classic catchphrase “I pity the fool” and hinted at Mr. T’s unique fashion sense but it was the role of B.A. where I feel we got to know the real Mr. T. He was still a scary dude but he was kind and funny too. He wore his trademark gold chains (and rings and bracelets) which is something he’s done in real life since his days as a bouncer.
The same year the A-Team debuted Mr. T also starred as himself in a Saturday morning cartoon that had him solving mysteries with a bunch of kids. It made sense to me at the time but when I watch the Mike Tyson cartoon that’s around nowadays I realize how goofy a premise it was. I don’t remember the cartoon very well but I do remember that I loved the Mr. T cereal that featured his animated self on the box. It was basically Cap’n Crunch in the shape of a “T”.
To be honest I don’t remember the A-Team all that well either. I watched it religiously back then but I was 5 or 6 years old and that was a long time ago. I’ve never bothered to revisit the show even when it came out on DVD. I did watch the 2010 movie but that was pretty damn weak and made me want to re-watch the old TV show even less. I’d rather remember it as being good. A couple of things that I do remember about B.A. from the show is that he had an intense fear of flying and that he was a skilled mechanic.
When I was a kid I owned this B.A. figure which stands about 5″ tall. My brother Doug owned Hannibal, the leader of the group, from the same line but we never got Face or Murdock. It always bothered me that we only had 2 of the 4. At least Doug owned the whole team in the smaller 3 3/4″ scale.
This figure is articulated at the knees, hips, waist, shoulders and neck. it’s a little odd that he has knee joints and not elbow joints but I think that might have been because you could buy their van and the knee joints were necessary so he could sit down. The sculpting on this figure is really impressive. The face looks fairly true to life, the hair is textured, the socks are ribbed, and the necklaces have lots of little details. The paint work is also quite nice with a good mix of colors. I especially like the metallic gold used on the jewellery.
Since B.A. was the mechanic this figure came with a tool box that contained a bunch of tools like a saw, a wrench, pliers, etc. I think he also came with a gun but I lost mine long ago. The latch on my tool kit is broken but I do still have the kit and tools that I owned as a kid. However, I actually didn’t hold onto my B.A. figure. I’m not sure what happened to him but he probably fell victim to a yard sale in the early 90s.
Fortunately, when a wave of A-Team nostalgia struck me a few years back I was able to acquire the whole gang relatively cheap on ebay. It was a pretty nice feeling to finally assemble the whole 5″ team since its something I’d wanted to do since I was 5 years old.
It’s also a nice feeling to finally review this figure. I selected Mr. T to appear on my blog banner way back when because this is such an interesting and unique figure in my collection. It’s crazy that I hadn’t gotten around to writing his review until just now, more than 3 years in. 9 out of 10.